Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Olympian's gym supported

by Kate Bouey - CASTANET Jan 4, 2017 / 5:12 pm
In the end, Camille Marten's Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club received full support from the North Okanagan Regional District board. The former national champion and Olympian was surrounded by about 150 supporters who watched Wednesday as electoral area directors gave first reading to a recommendation that would legalize the gym even though it sits in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Just last week, most had planned to do the opposite. Electoral area c director Mike Macnabb read from a written statement ahead of the vote stating the gym exceeded permitted home-based business use due to its size and there was concern it could erode the agricultural land base. “But these are special circumstances,” added Macnabb, acknowledging public support and the limited impact on the land. The club is highly successful and an outpouring of support in the form of emails and letters over the past week forced a rethink. Supporters cheered when Vernon director Brian Quiring said that building permit compliance should be taken out of the recommendation since it passed inspection when the gym opened in 2009. “She's been through enough,” said Quiring. “From a health and safety standpoint the facility will work and it should be taken off the table. We don't need to go there.” “I fear this is going to cost the Martens a significant amount of money,” said Vernon director Catherine Lord. However, Quiring and Lord were overruled. “The B.C. building code has to be met,” said David Sewell, NORD's chief admininistration officer. Following the first vote, the full board voted unanimously to support a submission to the Agriculture Land Commission asking the Martens' land be approved for non-farm use. Board chair Bob Fleming said he hoped for a fairly prompt decision from the ALC to move the matter forward. "It is extremely unlikely they will turn it down but I can't make a prediction," Fleming said.

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